Category Archives: EDI

A reminder that Retail Summit II is happening very soon: January 23 at X12 in Portland Oregon.

A reminder that Retail Summit II is happening very soon: January 23 at X12 in Portland Oregon.

Sign up here:

What is Retail Summit II, you ask?

I’m glad you asked!

Way back in the old days of EDI (and there are a few here on EDI-L that were actually there), many people from many industries and skill sets came together to create standards at X12. Those standards were created from scratch.. There was no ubiquitous internet, no XML or JSON or anything really. Just 300 baud modems and very, very expensive communication lines. From nothing, these people created a lasting standard.

Perfect? No. Excellent? Most certainly! Decades later these standards continue to be a key component of B2B eCommerce.

Retail Summit II is reigniting that fire to create the next generation of standards.

>> But understand this very important point: X12 does not make standards! <<

>> Again, I want you to understand this: X12 does not make standards <<

<< X12 is a space where YOU and other industry stakeholders come together, collaborate and create standards >>

This is where Retailers, Suppliers, Shippers, Distributors, 3PL Operators, Software Developers, Consultants, Service Providers, Network Providers – EVERYONE – comes together and envisions and invents the future. This is where magic happens.

Bring your business need, your technical acumen, your insight. Whatever your special sauce is, come add it to the recipe.

Everything is on the table – web services, JSON, XML and more – it all counts. We have such great tools to work with and now is the time to design the future with them.

To that end, I personally have worked hard to carve out a new space at X12 – one that is not tied to the legacy ISA formats nor the long drawn out process. We have a whole new part of X12 that can draw from that past success, learn from the failures and interject it with your experience. Retail Summit II needs you.


Please come join me in Portland on January 23 at Retail Summit II. I look forward to seeing you there!

Kindest regards,


Todd Gould, CEO
Loren Data Corp.


Logistics News After New President Takes Over

Panama Canal overtakes Suez on Asia-US East Coast route. This makes sense….. those new locks makes it easier on shippers.

Top US trucking lobby outlines wishes for Trump administration

City officials have dropped the idea of selling the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, but are continuing to explore the possibility of a public-private partnership for the short line that handles switching for the port’s six Class I railroads.

RailAmerica for Sale, Report Says

Transport providers hold firm against attacks on NAFTA, trade pacts.

Democrats and Republicans alike are encouraged that a Trump Administration could inject freight infrastructure with a much-needed funding boost.

Steady growth in e-commerce activity is driving a surge in the parcel delivery business, and strengthening the role of EDI in processing and auditing freight payments.

The Trump administration’s plan for a broad-based regulatory rollback could shorten the duration of any future truck capacity shortfall.

Shippers, trucking companies, container lines and others are starting to get a better idea of what Trump can and can’t deliver. Ignore the armchair analysis of Trump’s campaign rhetoric.

Beware The Shopper

Omni-channel has become a dated term. In this age of digital information available anytime and anywhere there are precious few shopping decisions being made without fact based information. A MasterCard report from 2015 shows that 8 out of 10 purchases made by retail shoppers are informed by some kind of digital information. With 80 percent of purchase decisions influenced by shopper research, their decisions about just where to buy is likely to come down to convenience and timing rather than loyalty. Omni-channel shopping is now just plain shopping.

Retailers need to be sure they are focusing on the most important factors driving their customers – information. In fact the source of information needs to begin at the source, and that source should be the manufacturer or supplier. It may be a strange environment for manufacturers but the production and dissemination of product information can’t come from a better place. But capabilities vary widely in terms of the ability of product suppliers to create, produce, and market their products.

Why Out-of-Stock Inventory May Kill Electronic Businesses this Holiday Season

With the holiday season quickly approaching, electronics retailers couldn’t be in a better position to make record breaking sales, exceeding the $1 trillion earned in 2014.  Electronics make ideal gifts, and electronic stores are one of the largest revenue generating distributors, accounting for 13.6% of all holiday sales. However, OEMs won’t cash in unless they have the right omnichannel infrastructure in place.

Electronics constitute one of the leading purchases made for dads, and accounted for 20% of Father’s Day sales this past June. With the rise of tablets, mobile phones and wearables, retailers can expect this category to grow. While 2015 looks at sustained growth with these product lines, Steve Koenig, senior director at the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), advises not to overlook other electronics that are also predicted to be big for business. Koenig explained, “Consumer decisions to replace their TVs at home with Ultra HD 4K units should provide a much-needed boost to the TV industry, while new smartwatches and other high-tech wearables will also expand that growing category this year.”

In the news, Apple has already created fierce demand with the launch of its latest rendition of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.  To address this frenzy, Apple executives released a statement that online orders have been “exceptionally strong and exceeded our own forecasts for the preorder period.  We are working to catch up as quickly as we can, and we will have iPhone 6s Plus as well as iPhone 6s units available at Apple retail stores when they open next Friday.”

It’s not only smart phone and tablet producers that will go through this inventory and production pressure. The CEA advises that while total shopping category continues to grow, the channels that consumers shop across have changed drastically, leading to the introduction of omnichannel shopping.


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Best Practices For Managing Quality In The Supply Chain

Yes, there are always obstacles to supply chains running perfectly.  There are for example recalls and visibility.

There are lots of good ideas around.

Here are just a few:

Broaden supplier assessments
Define clear measurement program
Invest in infrastructure that supports visibility into the supply chain
Close the quality loop with suppliers

W Edward Deming’s 14 Points and the Supply Chain


Quality pioneer W. Edward Deming is best known for the improvements he made in the post World War 2 Japan, but he also worked with many American companies. In his book:  “Out of the Crisis”, Dr. W. Edwards Deming shows 14 steps toward an improved management.  It is not easy in the American Culture to establish such changes. Perhaps that barrier is keeping the American Industry from achieving as impressive results as the ones reached by the Japanese. While he wrote primarily for the “four walls” of traditional manufacturing, his 14 points apply to the extended supply chains that now exist.

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Understanding Context, Improving Timing Help Avoid Invoice Deductions

Both retailers and suppliers understand that invoice deductions can be  useful devices for enforcing compliance. In part this is because retailers simply don’t have many tools to really press the issue when suppliers can or will not meet the agreed-upon conditions for product purchase and delivery. Deductions provide some financial redress for buyers, and are a negative incentive for suppliers.
Unfortunately, when invoice deductions are triggered, they can poison or destroy the supplier-customer relationship, causing damage far greater than the issue or issues that activate them.

But deductions (and positive incentives as well) don’t have to be problems. They begin as part of the sales agreement, an understanding between the supplier and the retailer about how they will do business together. Fundamentally this is an agreement to cooperate for the benefit of both businesses, and if it is a good agreement everyone should profit.

Even the best agreements, however, often fail to foresee unexpected difficulties and delays. While problems, in general, can be expected, specific complications are frequently unique and therefore difficult to anticipate.

Fortunately, suppliers and retailers can keep what are usually relatively small issues from turning the relationship adversarial by paying special attention to both context and timing.